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Opinion: NFL's sensitivity doesn't extend to 'racist' mascot

Filed Under: Opinion | Sports
More on: dc, football, mascots, racism, redskins

Writer takes NFL to task for allowing Washington team to continue using "blatantly racist" mascot:
After Michael Sam, a defensive end at the University of Missouri, told The New York Times and ESPN that he was “an openly, proud gay man,” the National Football League wasted no time issuing a statement that was intended to show how open, inclusive and sensitive it is. Meanwhile, anonymous N.F.L. personnel were telling Sports Illustrated that they didn’t think football was ready for an openly gay player.

The league may welcome Mr. Sam, and it may not; unfortunately the N.F.L. is often behind the times when it comes to sensitivity, with the most obvious example being its insistence on keeping Washington’s blatantly racist team name: The Redskins.

Indian groups have been asking the football team that represents the nation’s capital to change its name for many years, and two members of Congress tried again today. Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington State and chairwoman of the Indian Affairs Committee, and Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma and a member of the Native American Caucus, wrote to Roger Goodell, the N.F.L. Commissioner, demanding that he intervene.

They said, rather pointedly, that the football league enjoys a tax exemption, and that it is inappropriate for a multi-billion-dollar institution “to perpetuate and profit from the continued degradation of tribes and Indian people.”

Get the Story:
Andrew Rosenthal: The N.F.L.’s Racist Team Name (The New York Times 2/10)

Related Stories:
Sen. Cantwell and Rep. Cole blast racist DC football mascot (2/10)
NCAI ad urges Washington team to eliminate racist mascot (02/03)
ThinkProgress: Team brings in big guns to save racist mascot (01/31)
Oneida Nation leader meets UN official over racist mascot (01/24)

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